Yay! Giving Tuesday! If you're having trouble deciding where to donate your charitable contributions of money, time, or resources, these are the organizations I support throughout the year.
  1. American Red Cross - www.redcross.org
    The Red Cross is always one of the first responders when there is a emergency of any size. They always need money and supplies. If you can't donate money, there is currently a blood shortage! Donate if you can! I am terrified of needles and the first time I did it I cried the whole time but it was very worth it. If you're in LA, come with me on the 8th and I will hold your hand and distract you! Find a drive near you at http://www.redcrossblood.org/
  2. Big Brothers Big Sisters - www.bbbs.org
    BBBS is an awesome organization that matches adults with local students in need of mentors or just an additional support network. If you can't donate money, you can apply to become a Big on their website. I was a Big Sister for two years through my old company's Beyond School Walls program and absolutely loved the experience. Highly recommend.
  3. Static
    Flint, Michigan has been without clean water for 431 days. CFGF has a Flint Child Health & Development Fund that goes toward helping the city improve their infrastructure and ensuring that children have access to clean water in the meantime. If you can't donate money, you can help spread the word or even volunteer (More info at http://www.helpforflint.com/action)
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    JDRF supports people diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. My dear friend @brimattia told me about the great work they do and how their efforts improve the lives of everyone living with T1D. November is National Diabetes Awareness Month so if you can't donate money, at least take a look at their website and learn more about T1D and the millions of people affected by it. See also: It's National Diabetes Awareness Month!
  5. Julia's Grace Foundation - www.juliasgracefoundation.org
    Founded in memory of a member of my church family Julia Eveland, Julia's Grace works to provide a little normalcy for children fighting cancer and their families through their "Hug" program, which creates special moments and simple surprises similar to Make-A-Wish, and financial assistance through their "Grace" program. If you can't donate money, please take a minute to read Julia's story and let her generous spirit inspire you to be a little kinder to everyone.
  6. Laurel House (www.laurel-house.org ; Norristown, PA) and Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence (www.nextdoor.org ; San Jose, CA)
    Both of these organizations provide prevention and intervention services to victims of domestic violence, including housing, counseling, 24/7 crisis hotlines, and scholarships. There are so many local shelters and DV organizations in need of your help. Google "domestic violence shelters near me" to find a local organization. If you can't donate money, many shelters have volunteer opportunities or wish lists of items they need, such as groceries, clothing, and household items.
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    Mom's House provides childcare for single parents who are full-time students. I was first made aware of Mom's House when MY mom helped organize a fundraiser and their mission inspired me. They help break the cycle by enabling young men and women to continue working towards their dreams and professional careers without sacrificing their responsibilities as parents. If you can't donate money, consider donating gift cards or classroom supplies
  8. National Eating Disorders Association - http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org
    NEDA works to increase awareness, improve access to treatment, and remove the stigma of eating disorders. 30 million Americans suffer from "clinically significant eating disorders" which doesn't include the millions who go undiagnosed. If you can't donate money, you can become an advocate, media watchdog, or participant in an NEDA Walk. College students can also get involved with Proud2Bme on their campus.
  9. Planned Parenthood - www.plannedparenthood.org
    PP is a health care services center that focuses on primary preventive care, including STD testing, cancer screenings, and reproductive health services. PP also helps prevent unwanted pregnancies by providing comprehensive sex education, contraceptives, and by creating a safe environment for people to ask questions. If you can't donate money, please check out this article: www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/blog/7-things-you-can-do-help-planned-parenthood-and-the-communities-it-serves/
  10. Protect Our Defenders Foundation - www.protectourdefenders.com
    POD supports veterans and active military members who have been sexually assaulted, and fights for an impartial military justice system. Donations are being matched today! If you can't donate money, you can take action by educating yourself about advocating for all sexual assault survivors, including the ones who fight for our freedom.
  11. Science Care - www.sciencecare.com
    This isn't a monetary donation, but a whole body donation. When I die, my body will be used as a cadaver for medical research and training (then cremated and sent back to my loved ones). I like the idea that my frail earthly shell can be helpful to the world even when I'm finished using it. If you don't love the idea of being a cadaver, register as an organ donor! Save someone's life with organs you no longer need! You can learn more about whole body and/or organ donation on Science Care's site
  12. Southern California Counseling Center - www.sccc-la.org
    SCCC is a training facility where pre-licensed therapists provide sliding scale counseling to LA residents, supervised by volunteer licensed professionals. Each year they provide over 40,000 affordable hours of counseling, including individual and group sessions. I have benefitted hugely from SCCC, and can guarantee their efforts are paying off in the community. If you can’t donate money, you can designate them as your charity of choice on Amazon Smile or Ralph’s.
  13. Wikimedia Foundation - donate.wikimedia.org
    I’d venture to say that 100% of us have used Wikipedia at some point. If you don’t already know, it’s an ad-free, subscription-free, user-editable online encyclopedia. That’s pretty spectacular. I value their services and use them so often that so I set up a (small but recurring) monthly donation, but you can also send a one-time donation. If you can’t donate money, consider turning off your ad blocker for a week. It doesn’t benefit Wikipedia but it does help other sites you visit frequently!